Curious to learn more about pocket pets?
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By Mickey Zeldes  March 28, 2013 01:58 pm

When most people think of an animal shelter, they think of dogs and cats.  Some, who have been in our shelter, might add rabbits to that list (we always have a lot of rabbits).  But few are even aware of the array of miscellaneous small animals, often called “pocket pets,” that come through our door – critters like guinea pigs, rats, mice, and hamsters for example.  Or even more rare, chinchillas, snakes, birds, and iguanas.  We do our best to find homes or rescue groups for these critters too.

Why these guys are called pocket pets is beyond me.  Other than rats, I can’t think of a single one that would be happy to ride around in a pocket.  And some are so fragile, or quick, that it would be foolish to try.  We know many children and adults have these types of pets, and if you are curious to learn more about their care, we have an opportunity for you.

On Wednesday, April 10 from 6:30-8 p.m., Lauren Paul, founder of Northstar Rescue, will lead a workshop on the care and handling of pocket pets as part of our ongoing adult education Animal Talk series.  Pre-registration is suggested, and the cost is just $10 per person.  You can register by calling the shelter at 584-1582 or stopping by during our open hours: Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 1-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.  I’m sure there will be some furry cuties along for demonstration and handling purposes.  So, if you’ve never been around these little guys, here’s a chance for you to learn a bit about them from a very knowledgeable person.

Sometimes, the reason we get these animals in is because of a behavior or care issue.  If you are struggling with a problem, this class might give you some suggestions on how to resolve it without having to surrender your pet (no, we can’t make your 10-year-old clean the cage more often – but it may reawaken their interest in their pet).  Although this class is aimed for adults, older children are welcome for free when accompanied by a parent.

Think you know all about these small critters?  Here are a few questions to test your knowledge.  Are rabbits rodents?  Which of these rodents have precocial offspring?  Are all rodents social and live in family units?  Which of these common pets is raised as food animals in South America?  Which of these animals originated in Syria?  Not able to answer any of these questions?  Better come to our class.

After this workshop, there is just one more scheduled as part of our spring series of Animal Talk presentations.  That class is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8 with Beth Weil, cat behavior consultant with the Marin Humane Society as the speaker.  The topic will be cat aggression – both cat-to-cat and cat-to-human.  Live with a biting feline? One that stalks you as you walk by? You don’t want to miss these opportunities to learn more about our companion animals, so check our website ( for more upcoming classes and register today!

Upcoming events:  Free microchips extended – until we do 500 animals.  Come in during any of our open hours with your dogs and cats – no appointment necessary.  This offer is for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati only (proof of residency required).

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